Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Welcome to Live From Haiti

We arrived in Port-au-Prince today, November 30. Not to start this blog with mundane comments about the weather, but locals have told us December and January are the most beautiful months here, and if today's any indication, that's true. I'm sitting outside, typing this and it's sunny, 86 degrees, with light winds and low humidity. Even with global warming we don't get this weather in late November in Peoria; the only downside is the cognitive dissonance experienced hearing Oh Holy Night on the radio in such balmy climes.

Though I've never been to Haiti in December, this is my ninth trip to the country, eight of them with my husband John, over the past two years. I've taken about 500 pages of notes during the past trips, and I thought I'd start posting these bon mots on line for the benefit of anyone who wants to read them. In the past, I've been kind of loquacious in my journal; I'll try to curb this tendency and be more pithy, but I can't make any promises. There is so much to say (and do) about Haiti.

A little background: John first came to Haiti in 1981 as a med student. He's come back several times a year since then and is now an expert on Haitian medicine, at least for a U.S. doc; Haiti suffers from some of the diseases and public health problems that cause them as did the U.S. 150 years ago. John also speaks Creole. Besides all the great work he has done in Haiti, in 1995 John founded a program called Haitian Hearts, which brings children and young adults to the U.S. for heart surgery, which isn't available in Haiti.

John and I were married on May 29, 2005. It's been a huge adventure and a gift for me to spend so much time with him in Haiti. John is board certified in internal medicine and worked as an emergency room doctor in a large medical center for 13 years. He also knows a lot about orthopedics, pediatrics, and cardiology and he likes to try to teach his medically illiterate wife. He's a good teacher; I've finally learned that the ventricles are the lower chambers of the heart.

I have worked as a foster care licensing worker, a special needs adoption worker, a therapist, a communication specialist, and a college composition instructor/counselor/advisor. I like to write and have published dozens of freelance articles and essays. Running Haitian Hearts--diagnosing children who need heart surgery, finding doctors and U.S. hospitals willing to treat them, raising funds, arranging for children to come to the U.S.--now occupies most of our time.

Haiti is a compelling place and I want to convey its beauty, horror, and humor through the concrete details included in my posts. I will focus on what life is like here for poor people--as much as I can, not being materially poor--and also what life is like for two middle class Americans who spend a large chunk of time here each year. So, on with the blogging.


Anonymous said...

Maria, I have read your columns with great interest and fascination. Your dad was a strong influence on my Bradley days and he must be extremely proud of the work that you and John are doing.

I don't have a whole year to give but I am a pediatric nurse practitioner who would love to serve in Haiti; if you think your husband might be able to put me to work, please contact me.

Thank you. And be safe.

Pat Carr

Frandy Dejean said...

Dr John is a man who sent on the earth just to accomplish a mission for God.He also participates in Education efforts in Haiti.He knows pretty well how to advise people in Haiti.He's a famous doctor and an attorney for the poor.All my congartulations go to everyone who contributes in medical cares in Haiti, especially Maria and Dr John Carroll and also Dr James and Jane Ebel who always provide shelter to Haitians in St Louis, Mo.

I am so grateful to thanks them for everything.He's been helping me since 2001, he took me to St Louis, MO for my heart surgery, but fortunately God has healed me.

I did not need operation, that was a grace from the Son of the Lord, my father ''JESUS-CHRIST''.
HE has sent Dr John to help me and i was verry sick then he knew my situation.He treated my case with the best care that he could.

Thank you Dr John.God bless you and your familly.

Dejean Frandy